California Redwood Forest Returned To Native Tribal Group

Los Angeles – The descendants of Native American tribes on the Northern California coast are reclaiming a bit of their heritage that includes ancient redwoods that have stood since their ancestors walked the land.

Save the Redwoods League planned to announce Tuesday that it is transferring more than 500 acres (202 hectares) on the Lost Coast to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council.

The group of 10 tribes that have inhabited the area for thousands of years will be responsible for protecting the land dubbed Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, or “Fish Run Place,” in the Sinkyone language.

Priscilla Hunter, chairwoman of the Sinkyone Council, said it’s fitting they will be caretakers of the land where her people were removed or forced to flee before the forest was largely stripped for timber.

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UC Recognizes Student Researchers United Union Of 17,000 Workers

California – The university agreed Wednesday to recognize Student Researchers United, or SRU, a union representing 17,000 student researchers employed by the UC system.

The decision came after nearly 11,000 student researchers across the state voted Nov. 19 to authorize a strike. Out of the members who voted, 97.5% voted in favor of a strike, according to a press release from United Auto Workers, the parent union that SRU is joining.

“This is the single biggest new union filing in any industry, definitely this year if not this decade,” said UC Berkeley student researcher Tanzil Chowdhury. “Seventeen thousand new workers just joined the labor movement, which is historic.”

In the coming months, SRU will negotiate with the university to establish a contract, according to campus student researcher Tarini Hardiker.

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Tribal Communities Organize To Stop Sites Reservoir

Tribal activists, drinking water advocates, and commercial and subsistence fishers are asking the public to stand with them in the fight for both the Trinity and Sacramento River salmon by supporting a California state process to restore flows in California’s largest rivers, and by fighting a proposal for a twenty square mile reservoir, the Sites Reservoir.

They are asking the public to attend an online Virtual Rally and Public Testimony Training on December 6, a state hearing on the Sacramento, San Joaquin and Bay Delta flows on the December 8 at 9 a.m. and Sites Reservoir related public hearings on December 15 at 6 p.m. and on December 16 at 9 a.m., and the California Water Commission meeting on public funding for Sites Reservoir on December 15 at 9 a.m..

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Community Owned Real Estate

In this episode, I speak with executive director Noni Session about how EB PREC is garnering support to shift real estate ownership from extractive developers into the hands of the BIPOC community in Oakland and the East Bay. She shares the difference between a permanent real estate co-op and land trust, ancestral remembrance of cooperative ownership, how they got the first group of people to invest, their governance structure and multi-stakeholder model, prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility to individual investors, transparency of investment risks and how they mitigate it, and their exciting new venture – a historic Black arts venue they’ve acquired for Black artists and small businesses at 50% of market rate.

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Fast-Food Workers Strike Across California

Fast-food workers say they are fed up with their working conditions, and on Tuesday morning, they’re walking out.

Thousands of employees in the fast-food industry are going on strike across California, walking out for better working conditions, wages and hours and calling on lawmakers to offer them a bigger say in their futures.

A McDonald’s location on Floral Drive in Monterey Park, where workers allege sewers recently flooded the kitchen, is the SoCal site of the rally employees planned for 9 a.m.

Other rallies in the area are planned for 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

By and large, fast-food employees are not represented by a union. But they’ve found ways to band together, pushing for change within the industry with previous rallies.

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Hospitals Brace For Strikes As Workers Protest Staff Shortages

As weary health care workers across California enter the 19th month of the pandemic, thousands are walking off the job and onto the picket line, demanding more staffing.

The strikes and rallies threaten to cripple hospital operations that have been inundated by the COVID-19 Delta surge as well as patients seeking long-delayed care.

More than two dozen hospitals across the state — including some Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health facilities and USC Keck Medicine — have experienced strikes by engineers, janitorial staff, respiratory therapists, nurses, midwives, physical therapists and technicians over the past four months.

This week, nearly a third of all California hospitals reported “critical staffing shortages” to the federal government, with more predicting shortages in the coming week.

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Forest Defenders Blockade Logging Roads In Mattole Headwaters

Early Thursday morning, 20 forest defenders barricaded logging roads in the headwaters of the upper North Fork Mattole River in anticipation of Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) logging operations. “Road building on steep, unstable slopes and logging of old-growth forest is unacceptable,” said a local resident participating in the blockade. “This logging plan will release a large amount of long term greenhouse gas, and along with industrial logging across the Pacific Northwest, constitutes a major driver of climate catastrophe.”

HRC plans to log over 300 acres just outside of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The activists say that while the company has policies against logging old growth forest, much of the unspoiled habitat here is excluded from protections.

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California Attempts To Rein In Exploitation Of Truck Drivers

Like many truck drivers delivering goods from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to big retailers throughout Southern California, Juan Carlos Giraldo has a contract job, and it looks decent at first glance. His primary employer, Container Connection, pays a flat fee of $300 for a round trip from a port to a Walmart warehouse in Mira Loma. With no traffic or wait times, the trip takes four hours, which means Giraldo can make 10 round trips a week. In the best case scenario, he earns $3,000.

But the best case scenario usually doesn’t happen. Long waits at the port are routine, because his dispatcher doesn’t let him know when a shipment is ready to load. If Walmart doesn’t have an empty container ready to bring to the port, he earns half of his round-trip fee: $150. As a contract worker, Giraldo is responsible for insurance on the company truck and goods, which is $180 per week.

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Why 3.6m Pounds Of Nuclear Waste Is Buried On A Popular Beach

More than 2 million visitors flock each year to California’s San Onofre state beach, a dreamy slice of coastline just north of San Diego. The beach is popular with surfers, lies across one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the Unites States and has a 10,000-year-old sacred Native American site nearby. It even landed a shout-out in the Beach Boys’ 1963 classic Surfin’ USA.

But for all the good vibes and stellar sunsets, beneath the surface hides a potential threat: 3.6m lb of nuclear waste from a group of nuclear reactors shut down nearly a decade ago. Decades of political gridlock have left it indefinitely stranded, susceptible to threats including corrosion, earthquakes and sea level rise.

The San Onofre reactors are among dozens across the United States phasing out, but experts say they best represent the uncertain future of nuclear energy.

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California Kids To Teachers’ Pension Fund: Divest From Oil

The kids are mad as hell—and so are teachers who want their California teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, to join 1,000 other institutions collectively divesting $14.5 trillion from the fossil fuel industry that threatens climate catastrophe. The retirement fund divestment fight, led by retired teachers in Fossil Free CA and students from Youth vs Apocalypse and Earth Guardians, estimates CalSTRS’ portfolio investments in fossil fuels at $16 billion, mostly in oil and gas delivery systems, but $6 billion in direct investments in oil behemoths, with $400 million in Exxon-Mobil, $350 million in Chevron, $250 million in BP and $108 million in Enbridge Inc. This is the same corporation sending attack dogs to maul water protectors protesting drilling at river crossings on indigenous land, where Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline will send sludgy tar sands through Minnesota.

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How Oakland Teachers Took Control Of Our Return To School

It was March when, with declining Covid case rates and expanding access to vaccinations, the Oakland Education Association’s Big Bargaining Team reached an agreement to end the school year in Oakland with in-person learning for small cohorts of students. A week later, our members ratified the agreement in a close vote.

We had insisted on—and won—robust safety measures that exceeded state and federal guidelines: social distancing, small and stable cohorts of students, ventilation, health screening, universal face coverings, handwashing, personal protective equipment, and enough time for all school staff to be vaccinated before students returned.

Our legal right to inspect workplaces for safety is ironclad in California.

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Stopping The Logging Of Redwoods In Jackson State Forest

Logging has begun in Jackson State Demonstration Forest, 48,000 acres of state owned redwood forestland in Mendocino County in Northern California. The forest consists mostly of heavily cut over land – probably logged several times since logging in the County began in the 1860s. This continued when the state acquired the land in 1947 – the hypothesis then was to acquire forestland to apply science to commerce with goal of demonstrating best practices. Today, seventy five years later, it’s not easy to find much that’s “best” in this highly disturbed forest land. Still there are numerous groves of second-growth redwood to be found – remnants of what was once one of the wonders of the natural world.

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Scheer Intelligence: What Has Silicon Valley Done To Our Food?

Companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have started to become household names, producing meat substitutes that taste as close to meat as their scientists have been able to engineer. In the midst of a climate crisis that threatens our very existence, plenty of scientists have been recommending that we all look for ways to cut down on our meat intake because cows produce large amounts of methane that has a significant negative environmental impact. Eating animal products also brings up animal rights questions. One of the main selling points of these Silicon Valley companies is essentially that we can save the planet and eat ethically without sacrificing taste. Yet, there is a key question few people seem to be asking about these new products: Are these meat substitutes good for our health?

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Graduate Student Researchers Seek Union Representation

In one of the largest public employee organizing drives California has seen in over a decade, some 17,000 graduate student researchers at the University of California may soon become union members.

Student Researchers United, a committee of graduate student researchers, filed a petition for union certification with the California Public Employment Relations Board May 24. Organizers say they are seeking better wages and healthcare benefits, written protections against harassment and discrimination and a formal grievance procedure. They’re also calling for more legal and political support for international student workers, and an end to irregular or late pay.

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